How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours

Did you choose the career you really wanted?

“My entire professional life has been very accidental,” said Julie Wittes Schlack, my friend and former colleague. We met to discuss the unconventional path that led to her career and new book. She was an instructional designer, turned business leader, activist and author.

It can take years to reconcile the assumptions we have about work. Many of us follow outdated rules or well-meaning parents into careers that don’t fit. Julie’s upbringing, however, encouraged bold choices. She shared, “My father was trying to be a good provider while hating every fucking second of it. My parents realized they needed a more meaningful life and left Montreal to reinvent themselves.” I laughed. She added, “… Well into my adulthood I realized not everyone reinvents their lives in their late thirties! It was the greatest gift they could give.”

Julie, blessed with many talents and interests, kept open to serendipity. Ignoring mainstream career advice feels rebellious. But if the ideal career is where aptitude, meets passion and purpose, how do we find it?

Continue reading “How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours”

Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?

3 Quick Takeaways from Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, from
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Does self-doubt sabotage your creative projects? Would a mindset shift, from lamenting slow progress to celebrating all progress, boost your mood? Yes, you can restore your relationship with creativity. I view all of the advice I read about productivity and creativity through the “Mom-lens.” Whether you’re starting a business, changing careers or changing the world, creativity is an essential ingredient. If you worry that between drop-offs, pick-ups and carrying the mental load, creativity ‘just isn’t for you’ this book will help! Coincidentally, shortly after reading Big Magic, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert give an amazing keynote at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference. 

In the book she blends provocative thinking about the origins of creativity, and how to Continue reading “Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?”

Have You Taken Time Out of The Workforce?

The surprising little statistic about working motherhood

“No one in my local community had kids yet. My Mom, and Mother-in-Law, were Stay-At-Home-Moms. I worked for an investment bank. The childcare options in my area would have added an hour to my commute and taken a huge percentage of my take home pay. We weren’t necessarily in the financial position to do it, but I said (to my husband,) I can’t leave this baby,” explained Claudia Reuter, my former colleague and Founder of The 43% Podcast. “I stepped out,” she said. Claudia didn’t return to work until nearly 3 years later. Did you know, nearly half of Mothers make this decision?

Build Your Own Flexibility

Claudia said, “After my second child, 23 months later, I realized Continue reading “Have You Taken Time Out of The Workforce?”

When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?

One Woman’s Journey to Improving Her Health & Discovering a New Career

“I always had digestive problems.” Said Heather Wise, Author and Holistic Wellness Coach. We met for lunch after connecting at a conference. Heather said, “I realized I had food sensitivities and wanted to understand why.” She began researching possible causes while pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health. “The more I learned the easier it was to advocate for myself. I had the information to back things up (with my doctors) and that was empowering!”

Have you ever worried the signals from your inner-compass aren’t clear? Have other people’s doubts led to self-doubt? Despite being dissuaded Heather’s instincts, that her sugar cravings and digestive issues had a solution, led her to Continue reading “When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?”

Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar

“I believe Mothers standing up for themselves is the highest form of self-care. Higher than any massage or relaxing sound machine,” Said Katherine Goldstein, an award-winning journalist and Founder of The Double Shift podcast. She added, “…Getting in touch with your anger, with your experience, is a powerful form of self-care. Forcing yourself to accept unfair treatment, unequal relationships and bad workplaces is what’s really causing people to feel like ‘I need self-care, I’m so stressed.’ If you have a partner, tell him he has to do some f*cking housework okay?” I laughed in agreement. Katherine said, “I know it’s easier said than done. It’s easier to recommend a Continue reading “Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar”

What Happens If You Lean in and Fall?

How to Rebuild & Find Purpose In the Pivot

“I was all in on Lean In.” said Katherine. She added, “…I didn’t want to be held back and was totally convinced everyone else had this whole working Mom thing figured out except for me.” I nodded and remembered feeling the same way. “My son was born in 2015 with some pretty serious health problems. He’s doing great now but it was a stressful early time. Then, when he was 6 months old, I lost my job. Those twin crises really made me feel like a failure.”

The work-life collide is inevitable but jarring. Even if we’re aware of the Motherhood penalty, in our hyper-accountable culture, we expect better. We rarely discuss being passed over or pushed out at work. Why not?

Reframing Stigma

Most US Moms have breadwinning responsibilities. When things are bad at work, we still Continue reading “What Happens If You Lean in and Fall?”

What Happens When You Run Multiple-Businesses… at the Same Time?

“The common thread among everything, is that I see a ‘hole,’ and create that thing that I want to have,” said Christine Koh. The Neuroscientist turned Blogger, turned Consultant and Online Retailer, has become an entrepreneurial savant. Creating products, that satisfy her own unmet needs, has led to running 5 (yep FIVE) ventures simultaneously. She notes, “I haven’t been trained in any of them. In all cases, (before starting) I asked (myself) will other people find it useful?”

Popular wisdom says ‘stick to your strengths’ and ‘ruthlessly focus.’ It’s reasonable advice…but what if it’s not working? Sticking to the wrong thing can limit your growth…or lead to burnout. We become so invested in our chosen fields. Work that fits post-college, may feel restrictive later, as we try to ascend and raise kids. Change is hard. Career change, in an unstable economy, can feel reckless. Many Moms linger in professional roles that have become stale. Tenure can buy that fragile, yet oh-so-valuable benefit, flexibility.

What if we have the drive, inclination and talent, to do something very different? Can we build our own flexibility? Christine still enjoys the challenge, variety and freedom that a constellation of professional interests creates.

Learn How You Learn Best

“In neuroscience, I was Continue reading “What Happens When You Run Multiple-Businesses… at the Same Time?”

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